It always was there, and people who know much about me know nervous energy -- not peace and calm -- is part of the explosive package.
Now it has come to this. I never imagined that some day I would write: I am a tired old sports fan.
That might surprise some because passion for athletics has defined me. Other than the love for my wife, kids and grandkids -- and, yes, friends -- sports has driven me every day in every year.
But I'm fed up. I addressed this in a blog almost five years ago -- http://nvanthyn.blogspot.com/2012/10/stressed-out-dont-like-it.html, and now it's worse.
In most of my blogs, I try to stay upbeat, although that is difficult when writing about Nazis and the Holocaust. I have taken my shots in some sports blogs -- hello, Jerry Jones, and goodbye forever, George M. Steinbrenner -- but mostly the focus has been positive.
This blog isn't going to be positive.
I can hardly stand to watch sports anymore -- in person, on television or on computer.
Stories are more difficult to read, to digest. I hardly ever look at a newspaper these days, and I can do only so much reading sports news on the screen in front of me right now.
When I see breaking sports news, I cringe. When I watch games or events, I mostly can't stand the athletes' behavior, and I don't like their looks. I am repulsed -- really -- by most college and pro coaches.
I strongly believe there is so much hypocrisy in college athletics. For instance: recruiting. So overdone, overblown; kids' egos far out of control. The media and recruiting services/web sites' obsession with "verbal commitments" is part of the problem.
Colleges "offering" scholarships before kids even qualify academically for school should be prohibited, nor should kids be allowed to sign before their senior seasons in a sport are completed. Yes, I have some radical ideas.
College athletes are spoiled, pampered -- and no way like "normal" students. Pay them for playing? My view: A free education is pretty darned good pay.
Far too much money involved in all college athletics, and that's even more true in pro sports. It's so out of whack with the rest of society, it's not right.
Salaries, for players and coaches, are outrageous. Ticket prices? It galls me to even look at them. Public financing for stadiums, ridiculous (that's you, Arlington, Texas).
I see people who are excited about the NFL preseason games. People, read this: biggest ripoff in sports today, period.
For the first time, I am not looking forward to football season. Nope, not even college football.
I used to count down the weeks until opening kickoff. Not even nervous this year. Maybe next week, I will feel the anxiety of another LSU season, another Louisiana Tech season.
Really, I try to avoid anything NFL. The Cowboys are just a soap opera; so many sideshows; so much Jerry Jones in our face. So much boring Jason Garrett. If QB Dakota Prescott -- with his Bossier Parish ties -- wasn't there, it would be a total wash for me. I can root for Dak.
The violence of the game never has been appealing. And it's a violent game, no way around it. So many people relish the "big hits," but celebrating them -- as if often done -- is a poor message.
The injuries -- concussions, threat (and reality) of paralysis, multiple surgeries for so many -- are awful. Worse: the more frequent deaths/suicides related to CTE (brain damage).
If they never played another football game, my life would be OK. Feels strange because the sport has been so important to me for so, so long.
No longer watch the NBA. Just as in the NFL (and college sports), it would be a lot better if the athletes did not celebrate after almost every good play they make.
Stopped following tennis years ago, about the same time as boxing (after Ali, I did not care). Do like track and field, especially in OIympic years; same for swimming. Olympics, as a whole, are far too commercial.
Never much of a car-racing fan or horse racing, but I watched and read about those sports when I was working because I needed to know enough to edit stories.
Still like watching golf, but limit it to the majors and the tournaments I love most, on courses with which I am familiar (Colonial, right here by the apartments, and The Players Championship). And it usually takes one of the great young players on tour now to be in contention and draw my attention.
First love, soccer, boring as it is. Love it lots more when The Netherlands' men's team is playing well. But that was one World Cup ago.
|The Texas Rangers pour it on after a victory (Getty Images photo)|
Really can't stand the walkoff victory celebrations -- the team-jumping exercise, the pouring of Gatorade (see this week's Sports Illustrated cover -- the Dodgers), water, powder on the "hero," even if the other team made an error that allows the winning run to score. Especially don't like the pileup and the ripping off of the game shirt.
Throwing pitches at batters or behind them, on-field skirmishes (as in Yankees-at-Tigers on Thursday): dumb and dangerous. Play the game the right way.
So stupid all of it. Young men acting like kids? A whole bunch of spoiled, overpaid brats.
You really want me to go on a rant, let's go back to college football coaches. Ah, never mind. I don't have enough time or space or energy. But I am so, so tired of them especially -- our great role models.
Just a sample, consider the scandals. Hugh Freeze and Ole Miss, North Carolina and academics, Art Briles and a rape culture, Bobby Petrino and the motorcycle mistress, (unfortunately) the late Joe Paterno. I could list dozens.
Our son-in-law, who is host for a radio sports talk show, tweeted this a couple of weeks ago:
"I'm so over these coaches. Butch [Jones], [Ed] Orgeron, [Brian] Kelly, [Tom] Herman ... all paranoid, self-obsessed dullards."
I agree totally. Let me add sanctimonious and obsessive (Nick Saban), control freak (Gary Patterson), brash (Jim Harbaugh), whiner (Urban Meyer), cocky (Jim McFlorida), zany (the out-of-work but well-paid Les Miles), slightly berserk (Dabo Swinney) and unintelligible (Orgeron).
And at Louisville, angry-man Petrino. It is a scandal double-play when you add basketball -- Rick Pitino (a friend says that when he goes to a restaurant he orders "a table that will hold two") and his staff runs an escort service, but of course he had nothing to do with that.
I never was much of a sports-talk show fan, be it radio or television. But I know several radio show hosts -- son-in-law and some friends -- who I respect and who know their stuff, and I am glad they're on the air.
And I am happy for my friends and former co-workers still making a good living in the newspaper or online sportswriting business.
When I do watch games, I seldom have the sound turned on. I will listen only to a few announcers. Mute is good. I usually can figure out what's going on.
I have a friend who, went I told him how I'm feeling, said, "There is nothing like walking into a full college football stadium." True, if that's what you like. To me, it's a pain being in a big crowd and waiting out massive traffic jams.
Millions of fans in all sports do like what they pay big prices to see. Good for them. I'm out.
But, but, but ... two qualifiers.
(1) It's not that I do not care about my teams; I am just as intense a fan as ever. When they win, great (but better when they play well). When they lose, it still feels bad. It always will.
I must remind myself: It's a game; the results are fleeting.
(2) Because I am addicted to LSU football, and addictions are hard to break, and because I am interested in Louisiana Tech athletics, I will pay attention. I might even watch the games live on TV (when available).
Might watch. But I might just follow on computer. Or, as I did with LSU's early kickoff bowl game last season, I will record the game on U-Verse and watch it later. I did that all last season with the Cowboys' games, and the Super Bowl.
Cuts down on the stress level, and don't have to sit through the commercials.
I don't intend to watch games in person, not for the time being. I did attend three college football games and one basketball game last season, more because I enjoyed being with friends who invited me. Hey, I even paid for one ticket.
So, for my friends, don't even ask. And don't call to talk to me about athletics. I'll let you know when I'm ready. Until then, I am stressed and I am tired of it all.